Pakistan successfully test fired a nuclear-capable intermediate range ballistic missile on Wednesday, the military said, less than a week after India test launched a long range missile.
The exact range of the missile was not revealed, but retired General Talat Masood, a defence analyst, told AFP it would be able to hit targets up to 2,500 to 3,000 kilometres (1,550 to 1,850 miles) away -- putting arch-rival India well within reach.
On Thursday India test fired its long range Agni V missile, which can deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China.
"Pakistan today successfully conducted the launch of the intermediate range ballistic missile Hatf IV Shaheen-1A weapon system," the military said in a statement.
India and Pakistan -- which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 -- have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998.
Pakistan's last missile test came last month with the launch of the short-range nuclear-capable Abdali.
Wednesday's missile, which landed in the sea, was a version of the Shaheen-1 with improvements in range and technical parameters, the military said, and can carry nuclear and conventional warheads.
Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai congratulated scientists and engineers on the successful launch, and the accuracy of the missile in reaching the target.
He said the improved version of Shaheen 1A will further consolidate and strengthen Pakistan's deterrence abilities.
Pakistan's arsenal includes short, medium and long range missiles named after Muslim conquerors.
The neighbours were on the brink of nuclear conflict in 2002 over the disputed territory of Kashmir, but a slow-moving peace dialogue resumed last March after a three-year suspension following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.
India and the United States blamed the attacks on Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba and Islamabad later admitted that the assault was at least partly planned in Pakistan.
by Mira Oberman Â© 2012 AFP
Date: Apr 25, 2012